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Best of Opening Day: Hurrah for homers in all shapes and sizes!

Big League Stew

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If it seems like major leaguers have hit more home runs on this opening day than in 2009, well, it's only true because the late games have pushed 2010 over the top — 32-30, with games in progress here and here.

Albert Pujols(notes), in case anyone was worried about his sore back, got the jump on the rest of the league by going deep twice in the St. Louis Cardinals 11-6 victory against the Cincinnati Reds. The coaching of Mark McGwire is obviously making a difference already.

The man you're not to call El Hombre is not alone atop the home-run leaderboard though, thanks to Garrett Jones(notes) of the Pittsburgh Pirates going deep twice. Jones emerged from a nondescript minor-league career last year and finished with 21 homers and a .938 OPS is 314 at-bats at age 28. No way he can do that again, right?

Despite a general lack of confidence from the rest of America, Jones is at it again: 3 for 4, two homers, three RBIs, a walk, no strikeouts and the Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-5.

And there was more — much more!

David Wright(notes) celebrates opposite day: Wright, who might have hit negative home runs last year because he played in spacious Citi Field National Park, went oppo (opposite field, baby!) against Josh Johnson(notes) and the Florida Marlins. The New York Mets, who've had some personnel, health and image problems the past two seasons, are perfect so far after clubbing the Fish 7-1.

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Jason Heyward(notes) — the hype is real: As you might have seen and as 'Duk mentioned earlier, Heyward lived up to his massive reputation by homering in his first major league plate appearance. He's just 20 years old, folks. Even Hank Aaron (right) is totally impressed by this guy.

Stephen Drew(notes), running man: Obviously bored by all of these guys hitting the ball over the fence, Drew used the strange dimensions at Chase Field to give us our first inside-the-park homer of the season in Arizona's 6-3 victory against the San Diego Padres.

Will Placido play the Kennedy Center, too?: Placido Polanco(notes) was the top RBI man of the day, driving in six including a grand slam in the Philadelphia Phillies' 11-1 stampede of the Washington Nationals. New Philly ace Roy Halladay(notes) actually gave up a run, crushing the dream of a perfect season. But Polanco's on pace for 972 RBIs (so says these Phillies blogs, Long Drive and Cadillac Time). I think that would be a record.

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Colby Rasmus(notes) giveth, he taketh too: Scott Rolen(notes) would have hit two home runs on the day had the Rascally Rasmus not stolen — stolen! — this long drive to left-center. Rasmus (right) also hit a home run. Try to stop him at your own peril!

Austin Jackson(notes) immediately makes name for self: Heyward wasn't the only rookie making his major league debut in style. Jackson, who came over for the ridiculously popular Curtis Granderson(notes) in an offseason trade, did a daily double of sorts. He threw a runner out at the plate and hit an RBI double to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4.

Whirly Buehrle, man: Of course, the top play of opening day was not a home run, but a new martial art performed by White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle(notes). More home runs will be hit this season, probably even inside-the-parkers, but chances are, nobody's going to replicate Buehrle, who also allowed three hits over seven innings against the Cleveland Indians in a 6-0 victory.

Tiny Tim, tinier ERA: Tim Lincecum(notes) was the only other starting pitcher from the early games to not allow an earned run. Over seven frames, the two-time NL Cy Young allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked none in the San Francisco Giants' 5-2 victory against the Houston Astros.

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